The difference between a casket and a coffin

While both a casket and a coffin are designed to contain a body, there are major differences between the two.

What’s the difference between a casket and a coffin?

A casket is rectangular in shape while traditionally, a coffin has six sides. A coffin is wider at the head end (to allow room for the shoulders of the deceased) and then tapers to the foot end. A casket has hinges while a coffin lid is often screwed into place. (Our coffins can also be made with wooden toggles.)

Both a casket and a coffin can be used for a viewing and a burial. Either can be used for a cremation providing the casket or coffin meets the relevant crematorium standards. (Look out for the F.F.M.A. mark of approval.)

Types of coffins

While a traditional coffin has six sides, they are available in a variety of different shapes. Here at Musgrove Willows, our talented weavers make a large number of curved end willow coffins. As the name suggests, these coffins are rounded at both the head and foot end. This design also tapers to the foot end. (See image below.)

Our Avalon coffin with pink bands and plait

Over the years, our weavers have been asked to make a variety of different shaped willow coffins. These have included a boat and several rectangular-shaped willow coffins (or should that be caskets?!). All our coffins are made so that there is a choice of either toggles or screws to close the lid.

The difference between a casket and a coffin
Our West Moor coffin with toggles

Caskets & coffins – Which is more popular?

Different nationalities and cultures can favour one over the other. For example, caskets are certainly more popular in America than here in the UK.

Caskets can be incredibly grand and ostentatious. While the actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was still alive a funeral company gifted her a gold casket with a retail value of US$40,000! As a rough rule of thumb, coffins are usually cheaper than caskets. The fact that a coffin tapers means that less raw material is needed than for a casket.

Ashes caskets

Separate to the casket or coffin is the ashes casket or cremation urn. Again, these can be made with a wide range of different materials (all ours are willow) and come in a range of shapes and sizes. Prices can vary enormously. Our standard ashes caskets are available in a rectangular, oval and square shape. Our weavers also make double caskets and undertake bespoke designs.

Ashes casket
Our heart-shaped ashes casket

The seal of approval

If you are purchasing a coffin or casket, do look out for the FFMA approved logo. The Funeral Furnishing Manufacturer’s Association plays an important role in the funeral industry, testing products to ensure that they are fit for purpose. (A crematorium in the UK is well within its rights to refuse a sub-standard coffin.)

All our coffins are approved by the FFMA.